Personal Development


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Chapter XXXIV – Find Your Balance

I am Jude. Today, in many ways our lives are busier than they have ever been. There are ever-increasing demands on our time, energy and attention.

We are always connected to something or someone. It’s so very easy to feel the pressure of it all and become overwhelmed. 

You can be winning in certain aspects of your life and failing badly in others. Some people are extremely successful in their vocations but struggle in relationships, while others possess physical health but require greater spiritual fulfillment.

Most of us know that we require more balance in our lives However, we need to determine what a balanced life looks like before we can seek to obtain one.

Some would say that balance exists when there is a healthy balance between work, the time and effort spent with family and friends, and in pursuing our personal passions. 

I would tend to agree. However, it’s elusive and difficult to maintain.

The first step in determining where you need to make improvements is taking an inventory of your various identified life areas.

Try this exercise. Assign a number between 1-10  to important domains such as your finances, relationships, mental-being and physical health. 

Reflect and rate your overall satisfaction with each specific life area. This encourages you to consider where you are finding success and where you are falling short. 

Once you identify your baseline levels of satisfaction, you can determine where you need to invest your efforts and begin making appropriate adjustments. It’s a simple formula to assess your happiness and create more balance in your life. 

Side Hustle – Unshackled Solutions Life Coaching and Consulting

Time flies. Just like that, my coaching program is complete. All I have left to do now is submit my required practice hours and complete an exam. 

I have been asked whether the program was worth it. I can’t provide a definitive answer because its a very personal decision. However, I can offer my thoughts and share my experience.

Where did I find value?

I benefited from the instruction, my weekly interactions with my classmates and the regular practice sessions. The instructors possessed a wealth of knowledge and experience.

My classmates were fully invested in the program. They were all actively engaged and were committed to developing their unique personal coaching practice. We were all in different places along the coaching continuum and I learned a lot from their questions, insights and unique contributions. 

What were the challenges?

The classes were only once per week. Personally, I would have preferred bi-weekly(twice per week) instruction because of the complexity and significance of the subject matter. 

We had four different instructors and a number of classmates dropped out of the program which created some uncertainty and required accommodation. 

Would you recommend the program to a friend?

Hmmmmmm……I would first ask what they were expecting to gain from the program. I would also encourage them to connect with other life coaches and complete some independent research before then enrolled in anything.

The Flow Coaching Institute provides a specific coaching framework designed to create engagement, self-reflection and accountability. The coaching architecture was certainly helpful. However, my truth is that there were no revelations.

I learned as much from my immersive self-study and from meeting new like-minded coaches, than I did from the program material.

What did I learn? 

The program provided me with confidence, a specific coaching process and a better understanding of the ICF competencies. 

However, I also realized that I possess everything I need to be a good life coach. All that I require now is Practice Practice Practice. It’s truly the only way to get experience and obtain any level of mastery.

I have a goal of coaching 50 people by the end of the year through transactional(I provide you with coaching, and in return you provide some form of compensation, not necessarily money) or paying clients. 

So if you know of anyone who is seeking greater clarity, is actively attempting to Be Better, and could benefit from coaching, get to me. Let’s discuss whether we might be a good fit working together. 

Your Next Best Read –  The Mindful Athlete by George Mumford

Self-consciousness is when you’re focused on how you’re doing instead of what you’re doing. We have to learn how to push and challenge ourselves, but not in an insensitive way. Honing your performance really comes down to being comfortable with being uncomfortable.

George Mumford

Goarge Mumford has collaborated with Phil Jackson and each of the eleven teams he coached to become NBA champions. Michael Jordan credits him with transforming his on-court leadership of the Bulls. He has also worked with Kobe Bryant. corporate executives, Olympians, and other elite athletes. 

His personal story is deeply moving and unforgettable. 

A basketball player at the University of Massachusetts, he roomed with Dr. J, Julius Erving. Injuries forced Mumford out of the game and he eventually became addicted to the medication he was using to treat his pain. After getting clean, he earned a master’s degree in counseling psychology and began teaching meditation.

I loved how this book brought together my lifelong obsession with basketball and my growing interest in mindfulness. Mumford was introduced to these concepts through his recovery from substance abuse. He utilized spiritual practices to confront his addiction and find inner peace.

This brother adopted the practices of meditation and yoga at a time when they were dismissed by most of the American public, including the Black community. 

I have explored both of these spiritual tools in the past but my efforts were sporadic and half-hearted.

However, this time it’s different. I am fully invested.

I am realizing the transformational power of the mind and I am much more committed to adopting mindfulness practices into my daily rituals.

George helped me understand the art of mindfulness. To be neither distracted or focused, rigid or flexible, passive or aggressive. I learned just to be.

Kobe Bryant
Photo by Denny Müller on Unsplash

What’s Good – Positive Reflections 

I recently came across a short fictional exchange between a husband and wife that I am calling the Dirty Laundry Story. It resonated with me and I believe it provides some valuable insights about bias and judgement. 

A young, successful couple found their dream home. Shortly after purchasing it, the couple sat at their kitchen table to indulge in a delicious breakfast. The wife looked out the window, and to her surprise, she saw her neighbor hanging dirty laundry on the clothesline.

‘That laundry isn’t clean, it’s still dirty!’ she said to her husband. ‘Someone needs to teach her a thing or two when it comes to washing her clothes!’

Every time her neighbor would hang her washing to dry, the young woman would make the same comments.

One day the couple sat down at their kitchen table for a meal. The wife saw her neighbor hanging clothes on the clothesline. But this time something was different. The clothes were brilliantly white.

‘Wow, look!’ the surprised wife said to her husband, ‘Her clothes are clean! Someone must have taught her how to wash her clothes!’ 

Without raising his head from his plate, the husband kindly responded, ‘Actually, honey, I got up early this morning and washed the window.’

And so it is with life. 

What we see when watching others depends on the purity of the window through which we look. Before we give any criticism, it might be a good idea to check our state of mind and ask ourselves if we are ready to see the good rather than to be looking for something in the person we are about to judge.

We are always viewing life from our own unique perspective, and that perspective is colored by our emotions, experiences and unconscious desires. This results in assumptions and bias and underscores the broader understanding that our perceptions determine our reality. 

Consequently, we need to take care of our own business before we can begin to look beyond ourselves and criticize others. We should be constantly washing our windows so we can clearly see others and the world. 

Public Announcement

The Van Gogh Experience

My daughter and I love spending time together. Just the two of us. It’s never as often as we would like but on the increasingly rare occasions that we do, it’s always amazing. 

These times always involve good food, great conversation and culture. We target museums, the arts and anything related to Afrikan peoples. We are both lifelong learners; she just hasn’t fully realized it yet. 

Meals are central to these father daughter dates, but anyone who knows Keisha already understands that. It is an unspoken agreement that we have never had to mention, I just understand it’s non-negotiable. For her, good food is life. 

I simply love spending time with my daughter. She, on the other hand, likes to make it an occasion. She enjoys getting dressed up, looking stylish and taking pics to capture the moment. 

Our preferred events are generally in Halifax for obvious reasons. There’s more variety and opportunity. It’s a fair distance(45 minutes each way), but it means we get to chat uninterrupted for two hours. 

It’s gratifying to see your daughter committed to doing the required work to Break Free and Be Better. The  incremental changes she is making are already bearing fruit. She is making better decisions and finding more joy and fulfillment. Nothing makes me happier. 

As for the Van Gogh exhibit itself, it didn’t disappoint.

We purchased tickets during the pre-sale in January so we have been anticipating this event for a while, and it was well worth the wait. It exceeded all of my expectations. 

It was a completely immersive experience that made you feel like you were a part of the art. It literally brought his paintings to life.

It provided a brief history of his turbulent life and highlighted correspondence with his brother Theo, who seemed to be his therapist, agent, marketer and hype man.

It is good to love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is well done. 

Vincent Van Gogh

I could have wandered around the space for hours. 

I was impressed with the integration of modern technology and with his impressionist art to create something unique. I feel I now have a little better understanding of his inner struggles and who he was through the expression of his work.

It was another memorable day!!! I learned a lot about Vincent Van Gogh and his genius. However, I learned even more about my daughter and who she is trying to become. What a gift. Thanks Mama, can’t wait for our next date! I am Jude. 

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